Nobu Tokyo Presents Collaboration Night

Chef Kenichiro Togo and Chef Shohei ShimonoChef Shohei Shimono and Chef Nobuyuki MatsuhisaAssorted AppetizersUni, Ikura, and Abalone Cold Kelp Soup Cocktail StyleIce Plant Salad with Live Kuruma Shrimp and Ika, with White Miso dressingSweetfish Fritter with Warm Ratatouille Consomme
Roasted Madame Burgaud Challandais Duck with White and Red SauceWatermelon GranitaChef's Select Sushi and SoupFresh Musk Melon Soup and Coconut Cream with a touch of Estragon

Nobu Tokyo-Collaboration Night, a set on Flickr.

Tokyo’s “Nobu Presents” One Night Collaboration Dinner between Nobu’s own Kenichiro Togo and Chef Shohei Shimono from Le Jeu de l’Assiette on July 7, 2008. Nobu himself was present, although he was not in his usual uniform of the Chef’s jacket, the colorful and patterned pants, plus his sneakers; instead, he was donning a suit and made his way through all the guests. (Pictured here, Chef Shimono and Nobu). Needless to say,
the dining room was packed with Nobu legion of loyal diners.

While any night would find Nobu Tokyo always full, tonight was slightly different in that there was electricity in the air. As Togo-san and Shimono-san, and then Nobu himself and his daughter Junko Matsuhisa made their way to some tables, there were a lot of smiles and laughters, as well as effusive praises and compliments.

Kenichiro Togo, born in 1964 in Saga Prefecture, joined Nobu New York in 1994 after a stint at the Hatsuhanazushi, also in New York. He then transferred to Nobu London, during which year Nobu received a Michelin star. In 1998, he returned to Japan as Executive Chef to the new Nobu Tokyo (in the old location at Aoyama). At any night he can be found at the right corner of the sushi counter, his eagle eyes always surveying the entire dining hall in front of him, in addition to keeping watch of his staff next to and behind him.

Shohei Shimono, born in 1973 in Yamaguchi Prefecture, went to France and gained three years of experience under the famous Troisgros and Taillevent. At the latter, he was given a position of the Meat Chef, where he built his highly recognized base for the meat dishes. Upon his return to Japan, he opened his own restaurant in Tokyo’s Daikanyama area, Le Jeu de l’Assiette (a play on the plates), which was awarded a Michelin star in 2008.

***

The menu:

Assorted Appetizers by bloompy
Assorted Appetizers, a photo by bloompy on Flickr.

Assorted appetizers of Vichyssoise Blanc Manger with Summer Truffle, Foie Gras Wrapped in Rabbit with a hint of Yuzu, Strawberry and Tomato marinated in Vino Santo Vinegar.
The rabbit-wrapped foie gras eaten together with the accompanying slices of peach provided an opposing texture and taste of heaviness and lightness, coarse and refined, resulting in a wonderful experience.

Uni, Ikura, and Abalone Cold Kelp Soup Cocktail Style.
This is one cocktail I shall never be allergic to. A gradation of texture in the form of abalone, ikura, and uni swimming inside salty cold soup.

Ice Plant Salad with Live Kuruma Shrimp and Ika, with White Miso dressing.
OMG! I recently discovered ice plant salad few dinners ago here at Nobu, and had enjoyed it immensely ever since, but tonight’s ice plant salad was greatly enhanced by the presence of the well presented and well tasting squid and the kuruma shrimp. I have had kuruma shrimp before, in the form of tempura, but the way the kuruma shrimp was prepared tonight really brought out its fresh quality.

Sweetfish Fritter with Warm Ratatouille Consomme.

Roasted Madame Burgaud Challandais Duck with White and Red Sauce.
I have asked many places that serve duck to cook it to certain rareness to avoid losing the taste of the duck. While some places have succeeded to differing degrees, I have to say that tonight, without even asking for it, I was served a duck that was cooked just right, with the meat still red, the skin very crispy and seasoned to complement the meat. The heaviness of the duck was balanced with tiny mounds of grated onion and slices of beets nearby.

Watermelon Granita by bloompy
Watermelon Granita, a photo by bloompy on Flickr.

Watermelon Granita.

Chef’s Select Sushi and Miso Soup.

Fresh Musk Melon Soup and Coconut Cream with a touch of Estragon.
From the surface, it looks just like a soup with tiny chunks of melon, but upon the first scoop, it reveals itself as a melange of soft jelly, smooth cream of coconut, and a subtle hint of estragon immersed in refreshing melon soup with three very tiny balls of melon. It truly was a perfect finish to a great collaboration dinner.

***

Chef Shimono and the restaurant’s own website contains Blog from this particular night. Although only in Japanese, it is accompanied by snapshots of all the food mentioned in the menu. I have taken my shots of my own meal as well, but in the excitement of it all, I had forgotten to take the first two entries… Click HERE to read the blog and/or view the snapshots from the Chef’s site.

Naturally, I hope to visit Le Jeu de l’Assiette before my departure from my beloved, adopted city of Tokyo; and when I do, I shall make sure to write about the experience.

Nobu Tokyo
Toranomon Towers Office 1F
4-1-28 Toranomon
Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001
Japan
Tel: +81 (03) 5733-0070

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